EU tests platform to link up coronavirus tracing apps

FILE PHOTO: The COVID Tracker Ireland app used for contact tracing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is displayed on a mobile phone, as it is held up for an illustration photograph in Galway, Ireland, July 30, 2020. Picture taken July 30, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) - Several European countries have started testing a technology platform that will allow national coronavirus tracing apps to ‘talk’ to one another to better tackle the pandemic, the European Commission said on Monday.

The Commission has kicked off test runs between the servers that support the apps created by the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Latvia - whose apps share a similar design - and a new gateway to exchange data between them.

“Many member states have implemented national contact tracing and warning applications. It is now time to make them interact with each other,” Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a statement.

“Travel and personal exchange are the core of the European project and the Single Market. The gateway will facilitate this in these times of pandemic and will save lives.”

The gateway, built by a partnership between Germany’s SAP and Deutsche Telekom, would make it possible to log encounters between people while they are travelling abroad and issue push warnings should one of them be infected.

Such a ‘roaming’ function would be an add-on to the Bluetooth-based smartphone tracker apps, which now only work within national borders, with the goal of making it safer to revive travel and tourism.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mark Potter